Malian army is accused of carrying out summary executions

In a single day, buildings were reduced to ashes, motorcycles were destroyed, and people were killed and buried in the town of Nia Ouro, in central Mali. Our team determined what happened in this village on January 4, 2022, using videos we verified, satellite images, and an eyewitness account from our observer. He says the Malian army was responsible for the death and destruction.

The first report of this attack came in the form of a video posted on Twitter by a user with the handle @kaartanke on January 9. It shows a destroyed grain magazine, next to the burnt hull of a wagon. The caption reads: “Nia-Ouro’s face after FAMa [The Malian Armed Forces] passes by “. Our team contacted this social media user, who said he had not taken the video himself. He said he first saw it on a WhatsApp group. After our exchange, he sent us two more videos showing that two bodies were buried forward.

The face of Nia-Ouro after the passage of #famas. It’s more than time that our soldiers change tactics. We can not pretend to fight terrorism by using its methods of terror and burnt land. Hommes, greniers, vagnar, animals no one has been saved.

Another social media user then shared additional videos with our team, explaining that they showed Nia Ouro after the attack. The nine films he sent us showed charred motorcycles and wagons as well as grain magazines that burned to the ground. The film also shows the locals digging up two newly excavated bodies, at least one of which has his hands tied behind his back. There are several landmarks shown in several videos, indicating that they were filmed in the same place.

French media RFI and Libération both reported that Malian soldiers were suspected of carrying out an attack in Nia Ouro on January 4, 2022. RFI published the news on January 7 and Libération the following day.

On the afternoon of January 4, the Malian NGO Kisal, which focuses on the protection and development of human rights in the Sahel, posted a message about the attack on Facebook.

This Tuesday, January 4, 2022, which coincides with the weekly market in Sofara, stormed individuals wearing military uniforms – who said they were Malian soldiers stationed at the camp in Sofara – the city of Nia Ouro, men were systematically beaten and beaten according to reports from villagers and several motorcycles were burned. ”

Facebook post from NGO Kisal, which describes the events of January 4, 2022.

Our team contacted a Belgian human rights worker with an organization active in the region. She told our team that she recognized a man in one of the videos. She said he is from Nia Ouro and acted as her guide during one of her trips there. She also says that she received confirmation that the videos were actually filmed in Nia Ouro.

Screenshot of one of the videos showing people digging up a body, buried with their hands tied behind their backs. Some of the people in this video also appear in other videos filmed in Nia Ouro. Observers “We found the four bodies. They each had their hands tied behind their backs and a gunshot wound to the head.

Our team also spoke to a man from Nia Ouro, who witnessed part of the attack. Diallo (not his real name) is a young man who has lived all his life in the village. Late in the afternoon of January 3, 2022, he and his friend saw some vehicles approaching the city.

“We saw lots of military vehicles parked on the outskirts of the village, then we saw men coming out. They were dressed as Malian soldiers. They spent the night outside Nia Ouro.

The next day, around 09:00, I went to the market in Sofara [Editor’s note: 10 km to the west of Nia Ouro]. I was with around a dozen people. Almost as soon as we left the village, the men dressed as Malian soldiers stopped us. We were about a dozen of us and they made us sit down. They looked at our NINA cards [Editor’s note: a Malian identity card] then they threw them on the ground. Thank goodness, they let me go, I still have no idea why.

When I came back from the Sofara market, at 13 o’clock, there were many homes that burned down as well as grain magazines. Food had also been stolen. Of the eight people who had been arrested earlier in the day, four were found dead and four are still missing. We found the four bodies. They each had their hands tied behind their backs and a gunshot wound to the head. ”

Screengrab of the third video: A man holding an open cartridge that was found near one of the bodies that were excavated. Observers

To verify the videos, we asked our observer to send us another video of the destruction in Nia Ouro. We were able to identify landmarks and other clues in the two videos.

This is a screenshot of the video sent by our Observer. The objects with different colors are visible in the panorama below. Observers Panorama made of still images of one of the videos. Observers

Using the video that our observer sent us, we were able to determine the exact location in Nia Ouro where buildings were burned down.

Panorama made of the video that was sent to us by our observer on January 12, 2022. The objects that we have marked in colored boxes are also shown in the satellite image below. Observers Screengrab of a satellite image taken of the southeastern part of Nia Ouro. The objects in different colors are identical to those in the panorama below. © Google Earth

The destruction carried out by the men wearing the uniforms of Malian soldiers is shown in these satellite images. NASA’s FIRMS system, which detects fires by looking at satellite images, picked up two fires in Nia Ouro on January 4, 2022. The system did not detect any fires during the seven days before or after.

According to Boubakar Ba, a researcher at a research center called the Center of Analysis on Governance and Security in the Sahel, the villagers living in Nia Ouro, most of whom are from the Fulani ethnic group, are sometimes caught in the middle of escalating tensions.

“They are caught between several ‘fires’: the jihadists, the FAMa [Malian army] and local militias with close ties to the government who sometimes work with the FAMa, “he explained.

Our observer from Nia Ouro says he has no idea why the men dressed as Malian soldiers did this:

The dead were two shepherds, a market salesman and a man from the neighboring village. We do not know why they did it. I’m afraid. Everyone here is scared. Some people have fled the village since the January 4 attack. But I do not want to go, I have family living here.

A statement issued by the Malian Army spokesman the day after the attack on Nia Ouro said: “On January 4, 2022, the FAMa unit destroyed another coordinated terrorist operation in the Nia Ouro sector, the Sofara region. Fifteen armed motorcyclists were seen coming from the Sama Forest. and was captured and neutralized. ”

The Major General of the Malian Army did not respond to our requests for an interview, communicating both in writing and as a voice message.

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